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Charlie Horse
01-31-2012, 11:40 PM
I don't spend much time in the round table forum. Usually when I do I get caught in a multi-page discussion and lose several hours of my day. So if this isn't something that belongs here, or if this has been discussed someplace before, forgive me. (I did search for this topic with no luck.)

Why, in this day and age, where we are becoming more and more of a paperless society, are there still agents who insist on receiving queries and submission by snail mail. Do they not have email? Are they afraid of computers? To me this seems so archaic.

Can someone explain this to me please?

suki
01-31-2012, 11:45 PM
I don't spend much time in the round table forum. Usually when I do I get caught in a multi-page discussion and lose several hours of my day. So if this isn't something that belongs here, or if this has been discussed someplace before, forgive me. (I did search for this topic with no luck.)

Why, in this day and age, where we are becoming more and more of a paperless society, are there still agents who insist on receiving queries and submission by snail mail. Do they not have email? Are they afraid of computers? To me this seems so archaic.

Can someone explain this to me please?

This question comes up regularly. So, you might want to scroll back through for older threads, and read the multitude of answers, but, IMO, there are two primary reasons it seems agents insist on snail mail:

1. Because they like to read the submissions in print form - whether because that is their preference, or because of health or eye-strain issues, etc. And they think you should pay to print them, instead of them.

2. As a filter. There are multitudes of people sending half-baked queries into the electronic ether every minute. Requiring snail mail means you might weed out some of the less interested/less serious queriers.

~suki

Charlie Horse
02-01-2012, 12:42 AM
Thanks Suki for the response, which makes sense I guess, although I'm not sure why, if someone wasn't serious about their query why they'd go to all the trouble to query in the first place.

Richard White
02-01-2012, 12:48 AM
Thanks Suki for the response, which makes sense I guess, although I'm not sure why, if someone wasn't serious about their query why they'd go to all the trouble to query in the first place.

Because it's easy.

Why do authors query agents who don't rep their genre?

Why do authors write one generic query and blast it out to 200 agents instead of following the agent's guidelines?*

Because all they have to do is type in a whole lot of addresses into one e-mail and bam, hit send.

And then they go on-line and grouse because no one responds to their queries or they complain about getting rejections.

And then they find another 200 agent's email addresses and do it all over again.

Because it's easy and it's free.

If you had to send out 200 queries and pay for each one, (one would suspect) they'd pay more attention to guidelines and such. However, I've talked to enough agents and slush readers to know this is not the case. But, it does slow them down.

*The most egregious don't even BCC the addresses, they list all 200 agents on the "To:" line. Now, there's a way to make the agent feel special. "Hi, I picked your name out at random, please rep. my book."

Charlie Horse
02-01-2012, 12:59 AM
Because it's easy.

Why do authors query agents who don't rep their genre?

Why do authors write one generic query and blast it out to 200 agents instead of following the agent's guidelines?*

Because all they have to do is type in a whole lot of addresses into one e-mail and bam, hit send.

And then they go on-line and grouse because no one responds to their queries or they complain about getting rejections.

And then they find another 200 agent's email addresses and do it all over again.

Because it's easy and it's free.

If you had to send out 200 queries and pay for each one, (one would suspect) they'd pay more attention to guidelines and such. However, I've talked to enough agents and slush readers to know this is not the case. But, it does slow them down.

*The most egregious don't even BCC the addresses, they list all 200 agents on the "To:" line. Now, there's a way to make the agent feel special. "Hi, I picked your name out at random, please rep. my book."

I guess our world has no shortage of fools.

Richard White
02-01-2012, 01:02 AM
I guess our world has no shortage of fools.

As much as I wish it were different, it never has.

It's just with a computer, people can broadcast their foolishness that much faster. ;)

Charlie Horse
02-01-2012, 01:11 AM
I guess the one thing I'm still trying to wrap my head around, is if the majority of agents now do accept equeries, what makes those who don't so special?

Toothpaste
02-01-2012, 01:18 AM
I think people are just people. Some people like their traditions, especially older agents who have been doing this a long time. They likely don't feel they need to change what works for them because it isn't like they lack authors submitting work to them. Also in the UK it's far more common to have snail mail queries than e-queries, though that is obviously changing.

So it's about individual preferences, tradition, all that complicated stuff that isn't pure business.

But before you ask the follow up (there have been MANY threads on this topic :) ), just because an agent prefers submissions the old fashioned way doesn't mean they are old fashioned in their approach to contacting editors and working in the publishing field. One doesn't equal the other. Again, my old agency in the UK had snail mail queries etc, but they were one of the top agents in the UK and totally on top of all the tech and new developments.

Charlie Horse
02-01-2012, 01:25 AM
I think people are just people. Some people like their traditions, especially older agents who have been doing this a long time. They likely don't feel they need to change what works for them because it isn't like they lack authors submitting work to them. Also in the UK it's far more common to have snail mail queries than e-queries, though that is obviously changing.

So it's about individual preferences, tradition, all that complicated stuff that isn't pure business.

But before you ask the follow up (there have been MANY threads on this topic :) ), just because an agent prefers submissions the old fashioned way doesn't mean they are old fashioned in their approach to contacting editors and working in the publishing field. One doesn't equal the other. Again, my old agency in the UK had snail mail queries etc, but they were one of the top agents in the UK and totally on top of all the tech and new developments.

Thanks, Toothpaste, for anticipating my confusion.

Toothpaste
02-01-2012, 01:28 AM
lol, you are most welcome.

I guess the way I see it, it's like how some authors edit their own work by printing it out, but totally can still work on the computer with their editor when she uses track changes. There are things we choose to do for our personal comfort, and if they don't affect business, then it doesn't really matter if we choose them or not.

I guess some could argue that these agents are losing out on some authors who might not sub to them because they don't do email, but I think these agents have likely thought of that, and don't really mind. Again, these are usually agents who have a full roster and are doing just fine - with plenty of submissions piling up in their slush pile, that's actually a pile :) .

Kitty27
02-01-2012, 09:45 AM
I think some agents do it to thin the herd. It's quite easy to send an email.

It's quite something different to send snail mail. It requires more effort and maybe the agents think this is the mark of someone seriously about their business. No shade to the e-queriers as it's just as much work and agonizing to do it by email.

I confess to being a lazy soul. When I see agents who want snail mail,I keep it moving. But one of my dream agents only accepts snail mail.

Le Sigh. I shall put in work because that's what the agent requires.

gothicangel
02-01-2012, 12:47 PM
You know, I only recently started downloading e-books. When I did, I quickly came to the decision that I don't like the way the text looks on an e-reader. I shall be sticking with ink and page for a while yet.

Agents feel the same way about submissions.

Personally, I prefer the snal-mail route. There's a thrill in holding a package containing a requested full. :)

Jamesaritchie
02-01-2012, 07:27 PM
I don't spend much time in the round table forum. Usually when I do I get caught in a multi-page discussion and lose several hours of my day. So if this isn't something that belongs here, or if this has been discussed someplace before, forgive me. (I did search for this topic with no luck.)

Why, in this day and age, where we are becoming more and more of a paperless society, are there still agents who insist on receiving queries and submission by snail mail. Do they not have email? Are they afraid of computers? To me this seems so archaic.

Can someone explain this to me please?

All sorts of reason, but who told you we were becoming a paperless society. That's what computers were supposed to do, but it hasn't happened. In many areas, we use more paper now than we did before computes.

I really hope we never do away with paper. You do like paper being used in books, don't you?

Paper still has many advantages over pixels.

Charlie Horse
02-01-2012, 07:46 PM
All sorts of reason, but who told you we were becoming a paperless society. That's what computers were supposed to do, but it hasn't happened. In many areas, we use more paper now than we did before computes.

I really hope we never do away with paper. You do like paper being used in books, don't you?

Paper still has many advantages over pixels.

I have nothing against paper, although I would prefer it if we used hemp to make paper and not trees. I don't have an e-reader although I may consider it at some point. But in my workplace (along with the rest of the University where I work) more and more we're using less paper by providing digital files for class readings, storing emails rather than printing out all correspondence and filing them, submitting forms electronically, etc. The amount of paper files we're creating is down to near zero.

Phaeal
02-01-2012, 07:49 PM
All I worried about was sending each agent what that agent wanted. Email? Fine. Snail mail? Cool. Sample of five pages, ten pages, a chapter, three chapters? You got it. Synopsis, in one or two or five pages? No problem -- I've got them ready. Attach the sample, put it in the body of the email? I'm on it.

The only guess I have about why an agent or agency might prefer snail mail is that it might stem a little of the query flood and keep their emails free for other business.

My agency takes only snail mail queries. My agent has always contacted me by email and phone -- including his first request for the full MS. So, no, asking for the initial contact via paper doesn't mean the agent hasn't yet entered the digital age. ;)

quicklime
02-01-2012, 07:58 PM
Thanks Suki for the response, which makes sense I guess, although I'm not sure why, if someone wasn't serious about their query why they'd go to all the trouble to query in the first place.


not that they are indifferent about the query itself, but with a couple hours they can pull addys and basically spam what, thousands of agents at once?

I wish they'd all go paperless also, but I believe the above is what suki referred to, and a big part of why some agents don't accept e-subs.

DeadlyAccurate
02-01-2012, 09:04 PM
While agents who only accept snail mail queries don't get queried right off the bat, I don't completely ignore them (I usually do them in a small batch). My only complaint is, if they're going to insist on paper queries and SASEs, please send the SASE back. Either that, or do away with the SASE and respond via email if you're interested.

gothicangel
02-01-2012, 09:45 PM
But in my workplace (along with the rest of the University where I work) more and more we're using less paper by providing digital files for class readings, storing emails rather than printing out all correspondence and filing them, submitting forms electronically, etc. The amount of paper files we're creating is down to near zero.

That is just one University though.

The University I graduated from in 2011 didn't work like that. For each essay we had submit 2 hard copies [with cover sheet] and one through TurnItIn.

Hand-outs where frequently dished out at lectures and seminars. Module handbooks and department handbooks had to be printed out.

There were also occassions when we had to print out out-of-print Renaissance texts from the internet too.

I'm now taking a second degree, at this University work pretty much the same way.

Charlie Horse
02-01-2012, 09:53 PM
That is just one University though.

The University I graduated from in 2011 didn't work like that. For each essay we had submit 2 hard copies [with cover sheet] and one through TurnItIn.

Hand-outs where frequently dished out at lectures and seminars. Module handbooks and department handbooks had to be printed out.

There were also occassions when we had to print out out-of-print Renaissance texts from the internet too.

I'm now taking a second degree, at this University work pretty much the same way.

Sounds like your institution needs a sustainability committee.